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FFIT Cymru stars shed 10 stone in seven weeks in major transformation



THE LEADERS of the FFIT Cymru health series have achieved stunning results as they successfully lost over 10 stone in weight and transformed their health in seven weeks.

After following FFIT Cymru’s special food and exercise plans, the five leaders have made significant progress in terms of fitness, nutrition and overall health, including completing the FFIT Cymru Parkrun 5K challenge after six weeks of the journey.

The leaders were guided by the series’ three experts, trainee dietitian and former Great British Bake off star, Beca Lyne-Pirkis, fitness instructor Rae Carpenter and psychologist Dr Ioan Rees.

Dr Ioan said: “They did brilliantly. It’s a different mental challenge for everyone – there are ups and there are downs, both of which are equally important on the journey. I think we’ve seen progress in all five and what they’ve done is discover their own ability to improve.”

Bethan Davies, aged 39, from Merthyr Tydfil

Bethan works as a Language Charter Officer and lives with her partner Ian and their 11 year old daughter, Nel. Bethan challenged herself to lose weight before she turned 40 next January and she is well on the way to achieving her aim. Through eating healthily, having the opportunity to dance with one of her Strictly heroes, Amy Dowden, and completing the Parkrun FFIT Cymru 5k Challenge, she has achieved fantastic results, losing 34 inches of her body – nearly three feet – and two stone and six pounds in weight.

Bethan said: “I’ve learned how to live a healthy life, what to eat and how to keep fit. I’ve learned how to love myself again and just to live, I feel like I’ve started living life properly now. It’s been a great experience. I didn’t expect it to change my life so much but it has transformed every aspect really, from my health, my fitness, my happiness and my confidence, and we’re closer as a family…it’s been priceless.”

Wendy Thomas, aged 58, Aberystwyth

Having suffered with long covid during the previous lockdown, Wendy wanted to rediscover her enjoyment of exercise. And she has certainly done that, clocking the most number of steps over the seven weeks – a staggering 770,326 in total. Over that time, she has lost two stone and one pound, and lost 29 inches off her body.

Wendy said: “When I started, I never thought I would be where I am now. It has been such an amazing experience, which has been difficult  at times, but I never thought the plan would have worked as it did. I’m so proud and I can’t believe what I’ve achieved in this short time. FFIT Cymru has saved me. I wasn’t living my life before, but now I am and I want to carry on this way.”

Twm Jones, aged 59, Llanerchymedd, Anglesey

Twm is a grandfather to three grand-daughters and is a former player for Bethesda Rugby Club. After his FFIT Cymru experience, he enjoys getting up early to go running and cycling and has lost the most weight of any leader, two stone and 11 lbs over the three weeks, and also managing to completing 652,008 steps over that period.

Twm said: “Hopefully it has changed me in every way. Visually, there is a difference in how I look but I feel it has changed me internally too. I’ve learned to be a lot more disciplined with what I eat and especially with training. I never thought I could run one 5k let alone more than a dozen over the last three weeks, which in itself, is a big highlight for me. “

Ruth Roberts, aged 40, Abercynon

Ruth lives with her fiancé Alex and has been a member of the CDF Runners running club committee for many years, but now she has the confidence to run with the club too and has signed up to take part in the Cardiff Half Marathon in October. She has lost a stone and six pounds in weight and 23 inches off her body in the process.

Ruth said: “This has changed my life. To think back to how I thought of myself at first, I don’t think like that now. I have just turned around completely. I can do it now, I know I can do it. Ruth is back. I love myself now. I’ve lost weight and I’m much healthier now and I feel like I can do anything.”

Gafyn Owen, aged 48, Ty Croes, Anglesey

Working as a chef in a busy pub, Gafyn used to regularly eat fast food takeaways after his long shifts. But now, he has completely changed his mindset and left behind his old bad habits. Gafyn lost a stone and 13 pounds over the seven week period, which equates to over 12 kilograms.

He added: “I’ve stopped smoking and eating fast food, so I’ve saved myself nearly £1500 just in that time. I’ve bought a bike with that and I’m still about £600 better off in my pocket. I feel a lot better now and my mind is in the right place.”

FFIT Cymru will be back at the end of the year to see how the five leaders have continued their transformation over the next six months. Watch the entire series on demand on S4C Clic or BBC iPlayer. For more details on the food and fitness plans, visit, or follow @ffitcymru on social media.

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Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out



HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three. 

The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.

According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.

Site 12 in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to site 12

The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.

Plan for ‘site C’ in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to ‘site C’

For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday. 

In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.

Plans for ‘site 17’ in St Clears
Travel time analysis for population ‘site 17’ in St Clears

After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.

Ambulance times to Whitland, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)
Ambulance times to St Clears, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)

“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.

“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

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Fourty-five nurses recruited from overseas to fill urgent vacancies at local hospitals



HYWEL DDA Health Board says it has recruited 45 international nurses and plans to increase this number significantly over the coming months.

International nurses have been part of the NHS since its inception in 1948 and continue to play a vital role. Hywel Dda UHB aims at recruiting 100 international nurses this year through the centrally delivered programme with NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, local health boards and the Welsh Government.

The newly recruited nurses are part of a wider project to enhance and expand the health board’s nursing workforce which will help deliver the best possible care to patients.

The first cohort of 11 nurses arrived in May. The nurses have taken their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) and are based in Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals

The second cohort of nurses arrived in June. The group of 19 nurses have also taken their OSCE and are based across Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals.

The third cohort of nurses arrived in July and are currently undergoing OSCE training in preparation for their examination. The 15 nurses are spread across Glangwili, Prince Philip, Withybush and Bronglais hospitals.

Judith Avan from Nigeria, who works at Bronglais Hospital said: “Living in Wales has been lovely, people are so welcoming, and the weather has been so lovely. I look forward to developing in my career and specialise in respiratory therapy.”

Nabitha Kabeer from India, who works in Glangwili Hospital said: “I’m excited about working with NHS Wales. I look forward to enjoying the beauty of Wales and developing in my career. I want to specialise in Infection control or operating theatre nursing or forensic nursing.”

Oyebola Opemipo Tikolo from Nigeria, who works in Glangwili Hospital said: “It has been a nice experience on and off the ward, the people are friendly and helpful. I am looking forward to developing in my career by taking more courses, I also look forward to bringing my family over and settling down here. I intend to specialise in midwifery as I have experience in midwifery from my country.”

The UHBs approach to attracting and retaining its employees is to be a value-based organisation.

Director of Workforce and OD Lisa Gostling said: “We continuously work together to be the best we can be as we strive to develop and deliver excellent services, putting people at the heart of everything we do. We want to attract a diverse workforce and are delighted to welcome the newly recruited nurses to the Hywel Dda family.”

If you wish to be kept informed about jobs in Hywel Dda UHB, please follow SwyddiHywelDdaJobs on Facebook or Twitter.

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Avian flu hits Grassholm seabird colony



BIRDS on Grassholm are at risk following an outbreak of avian flu.

The disease’s presence in Grassholm’s large wild bird population was confirmed on Wednesday, August 3.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease.

It affects many species of birds’ respiratory, digestive, or nervous systems.

Some strains of Avian influenza can spread easily and quickly between birds and have a high death rate.

Migratory seabirds and waterfowl are known carriers of avian flu.

The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain originated in the intensive poultry industry in Asia and has since spread into wild bird populations worldwide.

Up until now, the disease had not reached Grassholm.

Sadly, this is no longer the case.

Following a spate of suspicious deaths during a recent RSPB surveillance visit, DEFRA testing confirmed the disease’s presence.

The outbreak is in its early stages, and RSPB are keeping Grassholm under close surveillance and will update the public as and when there is more to tell.

Very rarely infected birds can pass the disease onto humans.

Grassholm is known for its huge colony of northern gannets; the island has been owned since 1947 by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and is one of its oldest reserves.

A National Nature Reserve, Grassholm is the world’s third most important site for gannets.

It serves as a breeding site for 36,000 pairs of gannets and supports around 10 per cent of the world population.

A severe outbreak at a major breeding site would be disastrous, as would the potential for the disease’s spread along the Pembrokeshire coast and the neighbouring islands of Skokholm and Skomer.

At present, the outbreak is small but has the potential to escalate.

You may come across dead or dying gannets (or other seabirds) washed in on beaches around Pembrokeshire.

DO NOT touch these birds, keep dogs away from them, and report to DEFRA on 03459 33 55 77.

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